Feb 112014
 
It's-Complicated

Think editing is complicated? It doesn’t have to be. But it’s critical to becoming a better writer.

Writing is rewriting, as the saying goes. And while it’s true, do you know what to look for when you read your first draft, or how to improve it?

Here’s what I look for when I edit both my own posts and the work of others:

1. Keep your focus. Do you start by moaning about a cold, move to the merits of a new smoothie you made for breakfast, and end with a recipe for chocolate cake? Stick to a Continue reading »

Jan 212014
 

Kicking-In-the-Wall“When you hit a wall, kick it in.”

That’s the advice playwright Sam Shepard gave to musician Patti Smith early in her career. She had said to him, “I would go as far as I could and hit a wall, my own imagined limitations” and that was his response.

Sound familiar? This line from Smith’s memoir, Just Kids, inspired author Barbara Abercrombie to write Kicking in the Wall: A Year of Writing Exercises, Prompts and Quotes to Help You Break Through Your Blocks and Reach Your Writing Goals.

Inside are 365 five-minute writing exercises, a great way to jumpstart your writing for the new year. Dip in and pick Continue reading »

Jan 072014
 

Boxing glovesThis month, everyone’s thinking about New Year’s resolutions. Let’s try something less traditional than dieting and juice fasts. Let’s try challenging negative self-talk as writers and communicators.

I’ll start. I have beliefs that hold me back. I bet you have them too. I say these things subconsciously, and I believe them far more often than I should. I fear if I hear them often enough, they will become true. That’s a good motivator to do something about it.

The trick is to hear what the inner critic says and then reframe the self-talk to become more positive and accepting. That’s my Continue reading »

Dec 312013
 
Teaching in Dubai in October 2013, thanks to Food Blogger Connect.

That’s me, lucky enough to teach a food writing workshop in Dubai this past year, thanks to Bethany Kehdy and Food Blogger Connect. From there, I vacationed in Jordan and Israel. (Photo by Owen Rubin.)

At the end of 2013 — my fourth year as a blogger — I’m taking time to say how grateful I am to have you as a reader. Whether you’re a frequent commenter or you’ve never left a note, I’m thankful you’re here. 

To be honest, sometimes I’m surprised that anyone wants to read, considering how much Continue reading »

Dec 242013
 
Carolynn-Carreno

Freelance writer and cookbook collaborator Carolynn Carreño, with her beloved dog Rufus. Do you notice that, like her advice, this photograph tells a story that is uniquely hers?

A brainy freelance writer, high-end cookbook collaborator,  and three-time James Beard journalism award nominee, Carolynn Carreño blogs  atCarolynn Carreno.wordpress.com and the Huffington Post. I tracked her down for this frank and wide-ranging interview about food writing and her own path to success: 

Q. You come across in your bio and writing as a totally food obsessed person.  Did your  writing come from that obsession?

A. Definitely. I had no intention of being a food writer. I started before blogs, and being a food writer was for stuffy old men who worked for Gourmet. I couldn’t relate to a lot of food writing because I thought it was for people who travelled and stayed at fancy hotels.

I was writing mostly for Seventeen magazine, lots of personal essays. Food started to make its way into my stories, through my family. Then I pitched a story about my dad, who had a restaurant, to Colman Andrews at Saveur. He got back to me 13 months later.  He said he was interested in Continue reading »

Dec 172013
 

Do you make a list of what to buy friends and family at the holidays? What about your own wish list?

On my desk is a list of names I wrote by hand on a long, yellow lined sheet. I’ve checked off all of them now, which is good because Hanukkah is long gone, and Christmas is a week away.

My personal wish list is new. I started it last year, buying myself one (pricey) book I’ve coveted in December, and vowing to do so every year. In 2012 it was the cookbook Plenty, since I already had Jerusalem, and have been enjoying both ever since.

This month I’ve been lusting for The Most of Nora Ephron, a collection of her work, published posthumously. Ephron was my writing hero: sassy, funny, and so right about women, love, and politics. At $35, it’s a tome, but I bet the pages aren’t as yellowed as her old paperbacks on my shelf. There’s a section on food writing, including Continue reading »

Dec 102013
 

Cute-BabyOh em gee! I am so tired of baby-talk words in recipe writing, especially:

  • Yummy
  • Sammy, and
  • Tummy.

While editing a cookbook manuscript for a publisher, I decided the author must have been a Rachael Ray groupie. How else to explain her use of these three terms, not to mention “easy-peasy” and exclamation points in almost every recipe headnote? At least she didn’t add “Yum-O.” Continue reading »